Dear Parents and Students:
Being a student in grade 7 or 8 is an exciting and challenging part of the educational journey. Many aspects of school life during these “middle” grades are unique- and different- than the elementary or high school experience. In average and large size districts, the grades 7-8 “middle” schools are typically standalone buildings. As Lyndonville is a relatively small district, our secondary (grades 7-12) program has an integrated “middle-high school” structure. This means that the 7-12 grade program shares a building, teachers, classrooms, and a common master schedule. But there are still many elements that make the 7th and 8th grade experience unique, and I feel that it is important to make you aware of them.
First, our approach to instruction and student life at grades 7 & 8 reflects our awareness of the developmental realities of early adolescence. For 7th graders, they will be shifting from a largely self-contained class with one main teacher to an 8 period day with at least that many different teachers. Each of these teachers is certified in a specific content area such as math, English, social studies, and science. Students will need to manage a 3-minute hallway passing time between classes and organize their materials in ways that they were not asked to do in elementary school. We have found that students at this level benefit greatly from organizational strategies. To that end, we are adopting the following school wide strategies for all 7th and 8th grade students this year:
Agendas- All 7th and 8th grade students will be issued an agenda planning book which should be kept in their binders. The agenda has a space for assignments that should be filled out daily for each class. Teachers will give students time to do this and will make it a routine. The agenda will provide you as a parent with a nightly resource to check on all due assignments, upcoming tests, and notes from the teacher when appropriate.
Binders- Each student will be issued a 3-inch binder. This binder will contain sections for each subject area. Teachers will work with students to set up and organize these binders.
What students need to bring on their own for the first day of school and every day thereafter:
1. 2 or 3 ring Pencil Pouch always with at least 2 pencils, 3 black/blue pens, 1 highlighter, 1 red pen, 1 pack colored pencils (optional)
2. 5 Divider Tabs
3. 50 sheets of loose leaf paper
We have collaborated closely with the elementary teachers and principal regarding student transition to 7th grade. It is clear from these conversations that these organizational strategies have been effective for the outgoing 6th graders and should be sustained at 7th grade. In addition to these organizational strategies, we will also continue another successful initiative by continuing to utilize the American Reading Company program to promote students’ love of reading and continuing growth. Also, on a bimonthly basis, students will participate in the We R 3 C character education program. These consist of short classroom lessons that will occur during a special “advisory” period and are dedicated to building and sustaining a caring school community by developing and celebrating respect, kindness and compassion.
As students navigate through the middle grades, parents are strongly encouraged to monitor their progress through use of the agenda and the parent portal. At the secondary level, formal progress reports are generated after the 3rd and 6th week of each quarter. Our instructional support team reviews each and every one of these reports. If a student is failing any course- meaning that their course average has fallen below 65%, we believe it is essential to take swift action, including use of the academic center, seeking extra teacher support after school, and attending our twilight school if necessary. Beyond these interventions and supports, we believe that early monitoring of student progress through use of the agenda and parent portal are the best ways to prevent academic failure in the first place. We look forward to working with your child in 7th or 8th grade this year. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Aaron Slack, Ed. D.
Middle-High School Principal